Public Charge Rule Discriminates Against Immigrants with Disabilities

October 10, 2018

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security published the “public charge” rule in the federal register.  The rule would discriminate against immigrants with disabilities and their families seeking to enter the U.S. or get a green card.  Being labelled a “public charge” means a person is inadmissible to the U.S. because they are likely to depend on government benefits to meet their needs.  Many people with disabilities and their families use programs that the rule will use as a basis for excluding them.  This includes Medicaid, which is the only source for many critical services that help people with disabilities live and participate in their communities and are unavailable through private insurance, as well as food and housing assistance.  The proposed rule will discourage families from using these critical programs for fear of harming their immigration status.  The proposed rule also explicitly discriminates against people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.  Having a disability is weighed heavily against a person, and the absence of a medical condition (including a disability) is a positive factor.  In other words, the proposed rule would in essence exclude people with disabilities simply because they have a disability.

The rule is only proposed at this point.  The government must allow the public to give input before it is finalized.  You can make your voice heard by submitting comments before December 10th.  It is critical that the disability community speak out against this devastating rule.

Read CPR’s statement of opposition to the rule here.

Learn more about public charge and its impact on people with disabilities here.  For general information on the rule and its impacts on immigrant families, visit this link. These websites will be updated with more information about how to comment.